Jack Abramoff Lobbying Associate Indicted

The charges against Ring come after an additional string of guilty pleas earlier this year that seemed to implicate him as part of the corruption investigation.

In April, former Justice Department employee Robert Coughlin pleaded guilty to a conflict of interest charge for his connections with Ring. Coughlin accepted numerous things of value from Ring while he worked at the Justice Department and helped Ring secure a Justice Department grant worth $16.3 million for the Choctaw tribe to build a prison.

The indictment against Ring also details additional allegations about Justice Department officials attending meals with Coughlin and Ring. On Feb. 4, 2002, Ring allegedly sent an e-mail to a member of his lobbying team, asking for tickets to a Dave Matthews Band concert. The e-mail said, "Bob really helped on the jail."

In the e-mail, Ring also allegedly noted that the MCI Center suite was "filling up with DOJ staffers that just got our client $16 million."

According to the indictment, the lobbying team member wrote back, "[A]s for DOJ staffers, those guys should get anything they want for the rest of the time they are in office -- opening day tickets, Skins vs. Giants, Oriental massages, hookers, whatever."

The involvement of Coughlin has led to some Justice Department officials being recused from the investigation and has prompted the Justice Department's office of the inspector general to become involved. Along with the FBI, DOJ office of inspector general agents also participated in Ring's arrest today.

Also key to the government's case was a June guilty plea to conspiracy from John Albaugh, a longtime aide to former Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla.

Previous court papers in the Abramoff cases show that Albaugh received more than $4,000 worth of sporting event tickets, concert tickets and meals, allegedly from Ring and Abramoff. E-mails between Ring and other co-conspirators, including Albaugh, detail the misdeeds alleged in the indictment against Ring.

"You are going to eat free off of our clients. Need to get us some [client issue] money," a March 2002 e-mail from Ring to Albaugh said.

After a months-long series of fundraising and social events, as well as e-mails in which the pair allegedly went over plans to secure funding for Ring's clients through committee appropriations bills, Ring wrote Albaugh in a November 2003 e-mail, "Now let's get that [subcommittee] conference done so we can bring the bucks home!!!!!!!"

In response, Albaugh wrote, "I [am] actually going thru the earmarks right now!"

Albaugh pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge stemming from the lobbying probe in June.

Istook, identified only as "Representative 4" in court documents, as he has not been charged with any crime, served as the chairman for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies. Multiple e-mail messages cited in the indictment refer to earmark money requested as part of bills before that panel.

"On or about March 19, 2003, shortly after [sic] Abramoff spoke to Representative 4, Abramoff sent an e-mail to defendant Ring and other members of the lobbying team, in which Abramoff told them that Representative 4 had 'basically asked what we want in the transportation bill,' and instructed them to 'make sure we load up our entire Christmas list,'" the indictment read.

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